It would have been an amazing legend, Macy realized as she listened to her grandmother’s shame-filled story. It was totally epic.
“She was only thirteen,” Grandma Agatha said sadly. “Just a child.”
“What happened?” Macy asked, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of her grandmother’s Lazy Boy. Her cell phone was sitting on the coffee table next to her forgotten as she listened further to her grandmother’s story.
“Thirteen. Only a year younger than you are now.”
“Yeah, yeah. I get that,” Macy added hurriedly, trying to speed the story along.
“They didn’t know any better. It was a simpler time. They were simple folk,” Agatha explained, more for her own benefit than for Macy’s. Her hands were in her lap, idly playing with the hem of her sweatshirt. She looked up suddenly. “It doesn’t matter, though. There is no excuse for doing that to a child.”
“Doing what?” Macy was getting anxious.
Grandma Agatha seemed to be stalling at this point in the story. She had gotten the back story good, talking about the early days in the Soo and how her family went back to the founding. It was all cute and boring until Agatha mentioned Constance. That’s when Agatha got all choked up and couldn’t seem to bring herself to finish anymore.
Macy still wasn’t sure what this story had to do with the large hope chest sitting in the living room next to her grandmother’s Lazy Boy. It was an old oak chest that Macy had never seen before, which astounded her. She thought she had been through every inch of her grandmother’s house before.
“They murdered her.”
“What? Why?” Macy asked. “What could a thirteen-year-old girl in Sault Ste. Marie in 1713 have possibly done to get murdered?”
“She walked into town in the middle of the night, dazed and confused and covered in blood.”
“Creepy,” Macy admitted. “But that’s more of a help the girl situation than a kill the girl situation.”
“It was on the thirteenth day of the year in 1713. She was thirteen.”
“On top of all those thirteens. She was clad in only her shift.”
“It’s like a slip, maybe a little thicker.”
“In January?” Macy was shocked.
Agatha nodded. “And the blood wasn’t hers. Not one drop of it. A local woman, our ancestor, cleaned the girl off and found absolutely no scratches on her.”
“The first whispers said ‘witch,'” Agatha explained.
Macy leaned forward, anticipating that something was to follow.
“But when dawn broke the girl panicked, expressing an extreme fear of the sun.”
“Vampire?” Macy asked, excited.
“They were simple people,” Agatha defended them weakly.
“Oh my Go…goodness,” Macy corrected herself quickly, seeing her grandmother’s eyes close to slits.
“The townspeople were up in arms. They wanted to kill her during the day, when she’d be at her weakest.
“Our ancestor, hearing the calls of the mob, wrapped the girl in a heavy blanket and led Constance to the woods.”
“Rock on Uber-great Grandma.”
“In her skirts, our ancestor had hidden a single wooden stake.”
“She had small children to protect.”
“After they had ran for several miles, they stopped under the shade of a large evergreen. She told the girl to rest and, once she was sure the girl was asleep, she took out the stake and drove it deep into the girl’s heart.”
“She walked home and told the mob that the girl had escaped her and headed south. They were angry, but soon headed to their respective homes.
“Later, under the darkness of the moon and armed only with a single candle to guide her path, our ancestor made her way back to the spot under the evergreen.
“The body of the young girl was still there, untouched by wildlife.”
“Our ancestor believed this to be the body of a vampire, a dark and evil creature, not the fictionalized tragic heroes you see popularized today, and wanted to make sure the body would not return to life.”
“What did she do?”
“She picked up the cold corpse and dragged it all the way to her home. It took her most of the night to do this on her own. Once she had the corpse in her house, she didn’t know what to do with it. She finally emptied out her hope chest and put the body in.”
Macy’s eyes fixated on the hope chest next to her grandmother. “That?”
“Eww. That had a dead girl in it?” Macy scrunched up her face in disgust. “You can’t seriously be giving that to me.”
Agatha sighed. “It’s your time with it,” she explained. “I’m getting too old for it, succumbing to my sympathies, and your mother doesn’t have the stomach for something like this.”
“But, grandma, it had a dead girl in it.”
“Correction,” her grandmother stated sadly as she stood and pulled a key out of her pocket. “It has a dead girl in it.”
“Gross,” Macy said. She half smiled and added, “Not funny, Gram. You almost got me, tho…” Her voice trailed as the lid lifted and she gazed upon the face of a young girl.
“Next year will mark her three hundredth year in this box,” Agatha said. “And, if not for the piece of wood in her chest, I’d swear she’s sleeping.”
“Grandma?” Macy took a step back in fear.
“Macy, I’d like you to meet Constance. We don’t know her real name, obviously, but the women of our family have dubbed her Constance. She’s your responsibility now. Good luck.”
This would have made a great legend, Macy thought. A truly amazing town legend, but the secret was now hers and hers alone.